Newark has made the first cut in Amazon’s quest to find a second headquarters. The online retailer narrowed down the initial 238 bids for HQ2 to 20 cities across North America.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Thursday called the decision a “great victory” for the city. Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement pledging, “… to continue to press our case for Amazon to come to Newark.”
The tech giant announced its plans to build a second headquarters in September. Cities scrambled to put together proposals to lure Amazon and its promised $5 billion in investments and 50,000 jobs. A handful of New Jersey’s cities sent proposals, including Camden, New Brunswick and Jersey City, but Newark was ultimately chosen as the state’s official selection.
A bill passed in Christie’s final days in office would make $7 billion in state and city tax credits available if the retailer comes to the garden state. “Today’s bipartisan action proves that nobody in any other state wants Amazon’s HQ2 more than New Jersey and the City of Newark, and there is nowhere better for this tremendously innovative job creator to grow and thrive,” Christie said.
Though sentiment from Trenton on efforts to win HQ2 have been favorable, there has been criticism. The left-leaning think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective and the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity denounced the multi-billion dollar incentives package as “obscene,” and claimed tax breaks for large corporations “unfairly rig the state’s tax code and make it harder for small, local businesses to compete.”
Amazon currently employs 13,000 people in New Jersey at its various fulfillment centers. The company has said it will make a final selection at some point this year.